DUP leader Ian Paisley’s bluff may have been well and truly called – the IRA might decommission on its own terms, thus killing off the issue of photograph evidence. Paisley said: “If the IRA does not fulfill its obligations as envisaged in the comprehensive agreement, then its refusal to meet these terms it will have very serious consequences.” The issue has been discussed on Slugger recently (well done Billy Pilgrim for your December 9, 2004 07:01 PM post)… maybe someone is reading after all!
The DUP is saying that the consequences are in terms of its level of support for the comprehensive agreement, but if the photos issue was killed off, the focus would be on paramilitary activity – what should have been regarded as the bigger prize anyway, to democrats.
In practical terms, I suspect that – if all this is even true – that it will mean the DUP insisting on a longer ‘decontamination period’ for the IRA to prove it has given up the gun. Looks like my prediction after the Assembly elections that we would have to wait until after the Westminster election for the restoration of the institutions will be proved right.